|City||New York City|
Casa Adela is an authentic Puerto Rican restaurant located at 66 Avenue C in the heart of Lower East side, Manhattan. The family ran business was established in 1976 and has been serving Latin flavors to the community ever since. The restaurant has maintained a simple, “at-home” style of eatery for many years and is recognized by many for its familial atmosphere. There have been no expansions made to the space of the restaurant since its establishment by the Fargas family and previous owner, Adela Fargas decided not to modernize her delivery services with the use of any apps, or other technology. Casa Adela and the Fargas family have also played a major role in the Loisaida community and in the advocation of Latino life in New York.
At the age of 39, Adela Fargas began her migration from Carolina, Puerto Rico to the United States in search of better work and economic opportunity. Upon her arrival, she obtained a job working in a restaurant on 4th Street and Avenue D in Manhattan, New York. She was later laid off after the business was closed by the owner and began selling Pasteles on a street corner. As time progressed, her humble business became enough for her to take over the original Casa Adela on 58th Avenue C. There, she would begin to perfect her recipes and enduring work ethic. Her late husband was the main cook at the family’s restaurant, but upon his passing Adela took everything over.
Casa Adela has been featured in several newspaper articles and video segments. One of the biggest recognitions given to the restaurant was in a New York Times article in 2015 that described Casa Adela as “The home of the magical rotisserie chicken”. Casa Adela was also included in Ricardo Muñiz’s Homenaje series published by Centro Voices that same year. Mario Ruben Carrion dedicated an episode in his “Indispensables” series to none other than Casa Adela. Casa Adela was also featured on a Facebook series called, “What’s Good in Your Hood” hosted by Dariany Santana. Online journals such as the SFChronicle and Voices of NY have covered stories on the restaurant.
The Casa Adela’s Facebook page showcases pictures of Fargas with actress Rosario Dawson, actors Luis Guzmàn and Jimmy Smits, singers Rùden Blades, Tito Nieves, Tony Vega and Iris Chacòn, as well as comic book artist, Eduardo Miranda, who in Adela’s memory created a comic of her in his “La Boreinqueña” series. Latina congresswoman Nydia Velazquez is also among the well-known who have had a meal at Casa Adela. This helps show how even those who are busy and well-known around the world fell like they are back in Puerto Rico when visiting Adela's business.
Casa Adela offers a wide variety of authentic Puerto Rican dishes at affordable prices. Even after Adela’s passing in January 2018, the restaurant has continued to use the same recipes it always has for all of its dishes. The most popular item on the menu is the Rotisserie chicken, which is marinated in a special blend of Puerto-Rican sazon. Other poultry Puerto Rican classics on the menu include: roasted pork, beef stew, beefsteak with onions, fried pork chops, breaded chicken, and chicken stew. Casa Adela offers seafood such as codfish in a savory Puerto Rican sauce and octopus’ salad. All the main courses are served with rice and beans. In addition to your meal, other side orders such as Maduros (sweet plantains), Tostones (fried crispy plantains), Yuca con Cebolla (cassava with onions) and French Fries are available. Chicken soup and Sancocho, a hefty Latin stew containing meat and vegetables are also on the menu. Casa Adela also serves sandwiches and Mofongo containing beef of chicken. For dessert, one might indulge in vanilla or cheese Flan, a Latin custard, or Arroz con Dulce, sweet rice. To complete your meal, Casa Adela offers Malta, a Puerto Rican carbonated drink or Morir Sonando, a blend of orange juice and sweetened milk. During the holiday season, Adela’s famous Pasteles, are always in high demand and usually sold by the dozen. Chicken Pastelitos are the most affordable item on the menu, priced at $2 which ranges to the priciest item on the menu, Codfish at $15.
Casa Adela and the New York Latin Community
Loisaida is the name derived from Puerto Ricans living within the avenues of Casa Adela. In an interview with Pepe Flores, a very close friend and companion to the Fargas family, he explains that the restaurant serves as a host for all the Latinos in the community. People from many different regions in New York, and even those from other states make it a priority to share in the warm Puerto-Rican experience that Casa Adela give’s forth. Casa Adela has kept alive many of the Latin roots and traditions that exist in New York City. The Latin hospitality was very evident in Adela’s generous contributions during the annual Loisaida festival, as well as keeping the restaurant opened and serving food during Hurricane Sandy in 2014. The atmosphere of Casa Adela, combined with the amazing food has made it one of the most popular spot’s amongst artists, musicians, activists and the Loisaida neighborhood.
Owner Adela Fargas
Adela was known for waking at 4 a.m. each day and promptly starting her cooking at the restaurant. She wished for Casa Adela to open early in the morning and not close until the very late evening. The owner Adela was also widely known for feeding the hungry and those who could not afford a meal. Adela Fargas passed away at the age of 81, on January 15, 2018 of cerebral thrombosis. Her death devastated the community. Her funeral was held on January 19, 2018 at the Ortiz Funeral Home located on 22nd First Ave. Adela’s children, including her daughter Abigail and son Luis, who has been the manager of Casa Adela for two decades, have promised to continue their mother 42-year legacy and keep the restaurant going. No plans have been made to expand the space or make any menu changes. In the kitchen there is a team of four people and it is said to stay that way.
- Pearse, Emma (2015-06-26). "Casa Adela in East Village is the Home of the Magical Rotisserie Chicken". The New York Times.
- "What's Good In Your Hood". IMDB. IMDB.
- Pearse, Emma. "Casa Adela in East Village Is the Home of the Magical Rotisserie Chicken". The New York Times. The New York Times.
- "New York Restaurants". New York Magazine. New York Magazine.
- Ramirez, David. "Puerto Ricans Mourn Founder of Casa Adela". Voices of NY. Voices of NY.
- Maisonet, Illyanna. "The Quest To Preserve Puerto Rican Culture With Food". San Francisco Chronicle. San Francisco Chronicle.
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